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AIA Skylights Blog

Quality Skylighting from AIA Industries


Tag: Roofing

If you are in the market for skylight you have probably figured out that you have two MAIN options when it comes to the glazing of your skylight. Before we can get to the nitty gritty of this subject, there are a few terms that you will need to familiarize yourself with.

Glazing: This is the material that is put or “glazed” into the aluminum frame on a skylight. This material can be glass, plastic and even fiberglass.

Solar Optical Properties (TRA Values):  The solar optical properties of a glazing or product are the transmittance, reflectance and absorbence. Generally referred to as the TRA values.
The solar optical properties are further broken down into three categories, total solar, visible and UV.

Total solar properties are used for the analysis of the product/glazing for the entire spectrum related to solar radiation. These values would be used when one is concerned with the solar heat gain (heat) into a space.

The visible properties are the same TRA values but for the visible range of the solar spectrum only. This is the solar spectrum range that the average human eye responds to. These properties would be used for analysis of day lighting, glare, etc.

The UV transmittance is the transmittance of the product/glazing for the UV range of the solar spectrum. This value is used as a rating to determine the product/glazing effectiveness in guarding against UV degradation. The reader should be aware that the UV portion only accounts for approximately 1/3 of the damage. The environmental UV radiation and the heat produced by absorbed solar radiation both impact the degradation to carpet and furnishings.

Shading Coefficient (SC): A value that represents the quantity of solar heat through the product/glazing in question as compared to the solar heat gain through the ASHRAE reference glazing (1/8″ clear single glazing; SC = 1.0), under the same conditions.

Solar Heat Gain Factor (SHGF): A solar radiation level (Btu/hr.ft2 or W/M2) for a given geographic location, surface tilt and orientation, time and day that would enter (transmitted and the inward flowing fraction of the absorbed portion of solar radiation) the space through the ASHRAE reference glazing. This value accounts for the change in transmittance, reflectance and absorbence due to the changing incident angle on the glass.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): This value was developed to replace the Shading Coefficient due to the fact that the Shading Coefficient is not constant. Specifically for products that have strong angular solar optical properties. ie: louvered shade screen. — The ratio of solar heat gain (transmitted and the inward flowing fraction of the absorbed portion of solar radiation) through the product/glazing to the incident solar radiation striking the surface for a given condition.

U-factor: The U-factor (Btu/hr.ft2.F or W/M2.C) is the heat transmission value for the product/glazing/window which occurs to the indoor/outdoor temperature differential. this can be a heat gain or loss depending on the indoor/outdoor temperatures.

R-value: The R-Value (F/Btu/hr.FT2) is the inverse of the U-value. The value represents the resistance to heat flow due to the indoor/outdoor temperature differential.

Daylight Efficacy Value (Ke): The daylight Efficacy Value is an indication of the amount of light (footcandles) that will enter through a fenestration system as compared to the amount of heat (Btu/hr.ft2 or W/M2). Ke = Visible Transmittance / Shading Coefficient.

Once you are more familier with these terms ( I am sure you have them memorized by now ) you can take a look at our Glazing comparison chart by clicking HERE.

Now …. If you have kept up with our blog, you know that I try to simplify things as much as possible. Sometimes too much.  Regardless, here are some easy things to consider when deciding between glass and plastic.


  • Must have at least a 2/12 pitch ( can not be installed on a flat roof without modifying curbs for proper pitch )
  • Many options for coatings and different glass types to make your skylight perform the way you want it to. Example: allowing the most amount of light while allowing minimal summer heat gain and winter heat loss.
  • Easier to maintain. Glass skylights can be cleaned with many standard household cleaners including Windex.
  • Longer life expectancy.  30+ years on average.
  • Impact resistant.
  • Minumum 5 year warranty against glass seal failure.
  • Can get expensive depending on the options you choose.


  • Can be installed on any type of roof including flat roofs.
  • Restricted to only 3 standard color options and no coatings available. The color you choose determines the amount of visible light, heat loss and heat gains.
  • Must be cleaned with mild soap and water ONLY.  Most household “cleaners” will deterieriate the plastic over time causing it to become brittle and eventually start to crack.
  • Average life expectancy of 20 to 25 years
  • Specific material can be used to achieve impact resistance.
  • Standard one year warranty against defects and workmanship.
  • Cheapest glazing material.

I hope you have found this information helpful in deciding which type of skylight you want. Of course you are more than welcome to call us if you need more information or if you need any clarification.

YES !  When you order an acrylic domed skylight from you will have 3 color options to choose from for the acrylic dome(s). Bronze, White, and Clear !  In this article we are going to go over the three color options and the advantages / disadvantages of each color.

Bronze: This is more commonly referred to as “smoke” or “tinted”

  • Will allow 27% of visible light to pass through the plastic
  • Allows only 35% of Solar Energy to pass through the plastic
  • You can see through the material but it will be like looking through a pair of sun glasses

White: Commonly used in Commercial Applications

  • Will allow 56% of visible light to pass through the plastic
  • Allows 52% of Solar Energy to pass through the plastic
  • This is a Translucent material so you can not see through it

Clear:  Most common color of acrylic dome

  • Will allow 92% of visible light to pass through the plastic
  • Allows 85% of Solar Energy to pass through the plastic
  • This is Transparent material and will allow you to see through it just fine
Bronze, White and Clear

Now that I have bored you with technical data lets talk about dome configurations.  Here at we have three standard double dome configurations. Clear over Clear, Clear over White or Bronze over Clear.

Bronze should always be the outer most dome. Because the bronze only allows 35% solar energy to pass through it, the remaining solar energy will be deflected off the plastic. If the bronze dome was used as an inner dome, all that extra energy would be trapped between the outer and inner domes which can cause excesive heat buildup and will eventually cause the skylight glazing to fail.

When it comes to having a double dome skylight and using clear and white acrylic, either one can be used as the outer dome. Here at we recommend going with clear over white.  The main reason for doing this is because the white will act as a diffuser. Because the white acrylic will act as a diffuser any dust or dirt on the outside of that dome will show up as a dark spot on the inside of the dome. Having the clear acrylic on the outside eliminates the dust and dirt buildup on the diffusing dome which means no more dark spots in your skylight.

Of course when you order a clear over clear acrylic skylight you ALWAYS want to make sure the clear dome is on the outside … 😉

If you decide to go with triple glazed skylights these same rules will apply. Bronze should always be the outer most dome and to avoid having dark spots in your skylight, the white should be either the second or third layer from the outside.

To summarize, deciding what color plastic domes you want in your skylight is as easy as first deciding if you want to be able to see through it or not then just decide how much light you would like to have coming through.

If you have any questions on anything we have covered today or any other skylight related questions please feel free to give us a call at 303-296-9696 or send an email to

Thanks for stopping by !

Unlike a curb mount skylight that requires a “curb” to be built for the skylight to mount to, a self flashing skylight is designed to fit directly over the rough opening in the roof deck. 

Because the curb and flashing are built into the skylight and fully sealed upon delivery you will not need to worry about the curb or flashing leaking.  Of course you will have to pay for this piece of mind.  With the curb being built into the skylight the man hours and material involved will increase signifacantly.  The average cost of making a self flashing skylight will be approximately 75% higher than the cost of making a curb mount skylight the same size. 

Self Flashing Skylight Detail

The most important thing to keep in mind when ordering a self flashing skylight from AIA Industries, Inc. is that the dimensions we need in order to guarantee the correct fit is the actual rough opening in the roof deck.  As you can see from the picture above, we will build the skylight to fit directly over the opening in the roof and allow just enough room for drywal or whatever type of finishing material you would like to use to finish the inside of the light well that way you do not see the metal curb from the inside.

Self flashing skylight will require less labor and materials for installation however, the extra time and materials will be imposed by the manufacturer which means the cost of the skylight will be higher.  Deciding which type of skylight to purchase for your project is as easy as deciding if you or your roofing contractor would rather build a custom curb and flashing for said curb or if you would rather spend the extra money to have the curb and flashing built into the skylight.

To receive a free quote on a self flashing skylight you can click HERE.

If you have any questions that are not covered in this post or if you need help deciding which type of skylight to buy please give us a call at 303-296-9696 or send us an email at

One of the top questions we get asked is … “What is a curb mount skylight?”

While the simple answer  ” A skylight designed to fit on a curb”  might work for some people, most people would like more details. 

To start off with a curb is a raised frame that provides a surface for mounting mechanical units such as skylights onto a roof.  The material used to build these curbs will vary depending on the application and the specifications for the project you are working on. Most building codes will require at least a 4″ high curb on a pitched roof and 9″ – 12″ high curb for a flat roof. Of course,  you should always check state and local building codes before starting this kind of project.

Flashed Curb

Most residential applications will consist of a wooden curb built using nominal cut lumber such as a 2×4, 2×6 or 2×8 laying on it’s edge. This wooden frame (curb) will be attached to the roof deck around the opening already cut in the roof. This wooden curb is going to provide an elevated mounting point for our skylight.  As you can see from the picture above, the prebuilt curb has been attached around the rough opening in the roof and the flashing and shingles have already been done. This curb is ready for the new skylight to be set in place.


This picture shows you exactly how the curb is mounted to the roof deck and how the skylight is mounted to the curb.  Of course each application will be slightly different and if you are not sure about what you have or what you need then please give us a call at 303-296-9696 or send us an email at


Winnipeg Airport

Winnipeg Airport


“This is probably  the best looking circular skylight application that I have ever seen”


That’s what AIA Industries, Inc. President Jim Donaldson had to say about the circular skylights found on the newly renovated Winnipeg Airport. That is a pretty bold statement when you consider that Jim and AIA Industries, Inc. has been building custom skylights since 1977.  AIA Industries, Inc. provided 16 skylights measuring 91″, 19 skylights measuring 54″ and 20 skylights measuring 24″  for a total of 54 circular skylights.  These skylights were manufactured at our Denver Colorado facility and shipped directly to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport by way of 3 seperate semi truck loads.

Winnipeg Airport Circulars

Winnipeg Airport Circulars

These circular skylights were manufactured using 1/4″ thick Clear over Clear acrylic domes glazed onto 9″ high insulated fiberglass curbs and held together with clear anodized aluminum angle.  Having two acrylic domes with an air space between them provides great insulation values and the 1/4″ thick material means they are very durable.

Winnipeg Airport

Winnipeg Airport

 The blue LED rings used during the finish installation provides for a very unique and unforgettable sight when walking through this airport terminal.

Circular 1

Circular 4

Everyone here at AIA Industries, Inc. would like to thank Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. for providing us with the stunning pictures.

For more information on the Winnipeg Airports Authority please visit:

For more information on circular skylights please visit:

The CMS contacted AIA Industries, Inc. in May of 2010 looking for a reputable company to replace a 21 foot structural circular dome style skylight. Production started the last 2 weeks of October and culminated with the skylight being installed the second week of November.

Because of the size of the skylight, it had to be built in 4 seperate pieces, assembled on site and installed using a crane.

Ciralight Global Signs Dealer Distribution Agreement with AIA Industries

Los Angeles, CA…October 20, 2010…Ciralight Global, developer and manufacturer of patented Smart Skylights™, announced that it has entered into an agreement with Denver-based AIA Industries, Inc. a major manufacturer of plastic and structural glass skylights to be a dealer and sell Ciralight Global’s energy-saving Smart Skylights™,

“AIA is a long time leader in the skylight industry and we consider their decision to sell Ciralight’s Smart Skylights™ in addition to their own lines, to be a significant development for our Company,” Jeff Brain, President and CEO of Ciralight, said.

Jim Donaldson, President of AIA, remarked, “Ciralight’s skylights, with their energy-saving ability to drive natural light into buildings, are the future for “Green” commercial buildings, schools, factories, public facilities and retail stores. We are pleased to be able to add their Smart Skylights™ for commercial buildings to our product line and look forward to their forthcoming energy-saving Smart Skylights™ for homes.”

Ciralight Global’s Smart Skylights™ products are a solar powered lighting solution that allows users to shut their electric lights for up to 10 hours a day. As a “Green” product, they are eligible to receive federal, state and local tax credits and utility incentives. In addition to significant energy and cost savings, the benefits from Smart Skylights™ include better worker performance, increased sales, and a reduced impact on the environment. Ciralight’s customers include certain outlets of Giant Foods, Office Depot, Ace Hardware, Emerson, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Staples, Whole Foods, Walt Disney Studios in cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Portland, Atlanta, Columbus, Kansas City, Phoenix, Jacksonville, St. Paul, Dallas, Austin, and Albany, NY, and throughout the United States, and locations in Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico and Asia

About Ciralight Global

Ciralight Global, Inc. headquartered in Corona, California, was created to bring natural solar daylighting indoors using our patented “Smart skylight” technology that utilizes a GPS unit that tracks the sun and a lens and mirror design to direct the natural light produced from the sun at a level of intensity and clarity that makes electric lighting unnecessary during daylight hours. The result is a FREE green natural light source during daylight hours, which will save energy, lower utility bills, improve customer and employee satisfaction and enhance performance in schools, factories and businesses that use the system. Now with the worldwide movement toward natural sources of energy and supporting a greener planet, Ciralight Global, Inc. is moving forward to make Solar Daylighting a construction industry staple and help millions of people experience healthier, less expensive, and energy saving lighting naturally. Ciralight Global, Inc. is the undisputed leader in the daylighting revolution.

Forward-Looking Statements Any statements contained in this press release that refer to future events or other non-historical matters are forward-looking statements. Ciralight Global, Inc. disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the reasonable expectations of Ciralight Global, Inc. as of the date of this press release and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. The information discussed in this release is subject to various risks and uncertainties, results of operations or financial condition, national and international government regulations and the risks associated with doing business across borders and territories, and such other risks and uncertainties as detailed from time to time in Ciralight Global, Inc.’s public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.